- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Mulholland Books; 1 edition (September 12, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0316363294
- ISBN-13: 978-0316363297
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 183 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #161,391 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Bluebird, Bluebird Hardcover – September 12, 2017
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"A quick course in plotting and nimble characterizations rooted in a vividly evoked setting"―Nicole Lamy, New York Times Book Review
"An emotionally dense and intricately detailed thriller, roiling with conflicting emotions steeped in this nation's troubled past and present. . . . A rich sense of place and relentless feeling of dread permeate Attica Locke's heartbreakingly resonant new novel about race and justice in America. . . . Bluebird, Bluebird is no simple morality tale. Far from it. It rises above "left and right" and "black and white" and follows the threads that inevitably bind us together, even as we rip them apart."―James Endrst, USA Today
"Gripping, suspenseful and gut-wrenching . . . I've never bought the notion of the Great American Novel. I think when literary historians look back, they'll realize this time had many, but if Attica Locke's Bluebird Bluebird isn't on the list, I'm coming back to haunt them. . . . This is a layered portrait of a black man confronting his own racial ambivalence and ambition told with a pointed and poignant bluesy lyricism. . . . Locke's novel is America 'telling on itself.' Listen up."―Carole Barrowman, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"Attica Locke's terrific Bluebird, Bluebird (Mulholland) simmers with racial tensions . . . a story told with Locke's crystal-clear vision and pleasurably elemental prose."―Seattle Times
"In Bluebird, Bluebird Attica Locke had both mastered the thriller and exceeded it. Ranger Darren Mathews is tough, honor-bound, and profoundly alive in corrupt world. I loved everything about this book."―Ann Patchett
"Few contemporary writers have portrayed black Southern life with as much wit and heart-pounding drama as Attica Locke. . . . A dazzling work of rural noir that throws into question whether justice can be equally served on both sides of the race line."―Amy Brady, Los Angeles Times
"Locke pens a poignant love letter to the lazy red-dirt roads and Piney Woods that serve as a backdrop to a noir thriller as murky as the bayous and bloodlines that thread through the region. . . . Locke shows off her chops as a superb storyteller. . . . She is adept at crafting characters who don't easily fit the archetypes of good and evil, but exist in the thick grayness of humanness, the knotty demands of loyalties and the baseness of survival. Locke holds up the mirror of the racial debate in America and shows us how the light bends and fractures what is right, wrong and what simply is the way it is--but perhaps not as it should be."―Jaundréa Clay, Houston Chronicle
"Powerful . . . Locke is a master of plot who's honed her craft. . . . The deepest pleasures to be found in Bluebird, Bluebird, though, are in her renderings of those who've loved and lost but still want to believe in the world's benevolence."―Leigh Haber, O., The Oprah Magazine
"I've never bought the notion of the Great American Novel. I think when literary historians look back, they'll realize this time had many, but if Attica Locke's"Bluebird Bluebird" (Mulholland) isn't on the list, I'm coming back to haunt them."―Carole E. Barrowman, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
About the Author
Attica Locke is the author of Pleasantville, which won the 2016 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction and was long-listed for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction; Black Water Rising, which was nominated for an Edgar Award; and The Cutting Season, a national bestseller and winner of the Ernest Gaines Award for Literary Excellence. She was a writer and producer on the Fox drama Empire. A native of Houston, Texas, Attica lives in Los Angeles, California, with her husband and daughter.
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This is the setup in Bluebird, Bluebird, the new novel from the widely acclaimed writer Attica Locke. Her title comes from a blues song of the same name sung by John Lee Hooker. ("Bluebird, bluebird, take this letter down South for me.") Music, especially the blues, plays a large role in the background of this gripping murder mystery.
Bluebird, Bluebird highlights the uneasy relationships between black and white in a Texas town still in the vise of history. "Forty-some years after the death of Jim Crow, not much had changed," writes Locke. Given the setup, it would be natural to expect the two deaths (which are in fact murders) to be racially motivated. Race is a central factor—but in ways that are too complicated to imagine as the story begins to unfold.
Attica Locke was born in Houston. She makes her home in the Los Angeles area, where she has accumulated numerous credits as a screenwriter. Bluebird, Bluebird is her third novel.
Although the story thins out in some parts and some characters behave in foolhardy ways difficult to credit, if you want to know what it feels like to be a Black man walking into a roadhouse somewhere amid the bayous of East Texas, where no man is your friend, read this book.
"Empathy," according to the dictionary, is the "... vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another," i.e. what all novelists seek to create. In Bluebird, Bluebird, Ms. Locke succeeded in transporting this white, middle class reader into the shoes of a Black man compelled by both his job and his moral instincts to confront virulent racial hatred. Her protagonist is no super hero.
Despite being suspended, when he hears about a black man found dead under suspicious circumstances in a town of 200 people that’s well known for having a high tolerance for members of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas, he can’t help but nose around, especially when a white girl is found dead in the same bayou just two days later. ABT is even worse than the KKK because it deals drugs like meth among its many criminal ties.
This is when the story really picks up. I was taking notes and I still had a hard time figuring out who was related to whom and how, but I got the gist of it. Once I got into it, I devoured the book in a day.
I enjoyed this mystery, which doesn’t shy away from the complexities of race and family.